NLC, TUC Ask Court To Vacate Order On Fuel Subsidy Removal Strike

The National Industrial Court was asked by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to nullify the ruling preventing them from going on a nationwide strike in protest of the elimination of fuel subsidy.

Last Monday, Justice Olufunke Anuwe ordered the unions to postpone the strike that was scheduled to start on Wednesday while the Federal Government’s request was heard and decided.

She claimed that crucial economic sectors could see disruptions as a result of the planned strike.

In a motion filed on their behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, NLC and TUC said the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the federal government’s case.

They stressed that the ex parte motion was filed in violation of Section 17 (2) of the Trade Disputes Act.

The motion read: “This court as presently constituted lacks the jurisdictional competence to hear and determine the matter and or make any orders as regards the trade dispute (subject matter of this suit) for failure to first refer the trade dispute to the industrial arbitration panel as mandated by part 1 of TDA,” the court document reads.

“The claimants/applicants’ suit offends the lucid provisions of Order 3 rules 1 and 6 of the national industrial court civil procedure rules, 2017.

“The defendants/applicants and their members have a right to strike under the trade unions act, the trade disputes act, the ILO convention and under several international treaties, which the 1st claimant/applicant is a signatory to.

“By virtue of section 40 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, Nigerian workers have the fundamental right to protest against policies of government considered inimical to their interests as reiterated in the cases of IGP VS ANPP (2008) 12 WRN 65, MUSA VS INEC.

“The claimants/applicants’ suit does not disclose a reasonable cause of action against the defendants/applicants.

“The plaintiff’s suit is lacking in bona fide, as it was filed to harass, irritate and embarrass the defendants/applicants, which constitutes an abuse of the judicial process.”